Brewers Whitbread withdraws its Gold Cup sponsorship after 44 years

Brewers Whitbread, sponsors of the Whitbread Gold Cup, are pulling out of horseracing after 44 years, a period which made them the longest continuous sponsor in the sport.

Their withdrawal is part of a £2m marketing deal involving the Super 12 Racecourses and media rights consortium Attheraces. They have taken over sponsorship of the two-day Sandown meeting next April including the Whitbread Gold Cup, which is to be re-named the Attheraces Gold Cup.

Whitbread’s backing of the final big race of the jump season in 1957 was the first commercial sponsorship in British sport. The Whitbread became the most valuable handicap chase after the Grand National and was won in 1965 by Arkle, the greatest chaser of all time.

Sandown had already planned to continue with the series of substitute championship races run at the meeting last April following the loss of the Cheltenham Festival.

Attheraces will introduce a range of initiatives from the deal brokered by Super 12 chief executive Kim Deshayes. These include commercial branding at Royal Ascot for the first time.

The Super 12 racecourses are: Aintree, Ascot, Cheltenham, Doncaster, Epsom, Goodwood, Haydock, Kempton, Newbury, Newmarket, Sandown and York.